The Note

Walter Shapiro writes about how the U.S. deficit seems to carry little weight with voters (with great quotes from Dean and Clinton). LINK

In his online Campaign Journal, Al Hunt declares James Carville a Democratic political oracle, and the two handicap the odds of winning for the Democratic presidential contenders. Their verdict: Dean is the leader with 2 to 1 odds, followed by Gephardt with 4 to 1, and Kerry with 9 to 2 — and so on.

It ain't Vegas — or even National Journal's weekly survey by players — but a candidate could do worse.

The land of 5-plus-2-equals-7:

The Chicago Tribune's Paul Singer reports that a collection of former Clinton environmental officials has created a new campaign organization with the sole purpose of attacking President Bush and other Republicans on environmental issues in key states in the 2004 election. LINK

In our effort to serve our Note readers ever better than we did yesterday, and offer them the words "saddened and outraged" in one sentence, we offer a cameo from one such former official leading the left's 527 environmental effort, former EPA Administrator Carol Browner.

The Note: Why did you decide to get involved with Environment 2004?

Browner: I decided to get involved in Environment2004 because the Bush Administration is the most anti-environmental administration ever. The United States has made a lot of progress cleaning up and protecting its health and resources over the last 30 years. I am saddened and outraged that this progress is threatened by an Administration that allows big polluters to evade environmental laws with impunity.

The Note: What states are going to be the most important focus of your effort?

Browner: In a handful of states, Environment2004 will educate and mobilize voters who care about the protection of our environment. We expect the states to be chosen from among the following: my home state of Florida, Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Note: How do you distinguish your group from the other outside groups getting involved in the '04 cycle?

Browner: Environment2004 is the only Democratic pro-environment 527 organization, and the first one to begin its issue advocacy campaign. Our board and members include very prominent environmentalists from government, business, and the conservation community. These people are ideal messengers to set the facts straight about the record of Bush and his allies, and highlight the local damage and threats from this agenda in important places. We also plan to serve as a resource to Democratic candidates and the national media. Finally, Environment2004 will support nationally recognized environmental leaders and experts in speaking out on the stakes in the 2004 elections.

Meanwhile Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center have joined to ask the IRS to deny tax-free status to "a charity that offers donors a chance to spend time with Representative Tom DeLay of Texas at the Republican National Convention and to have part of their donations help abused children." LINK

The Washington Times reports that Craig Shirley & Co. thinks the Beverly Hilton gathering on Tuesday could be illegal.

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